Summer In The City had panels of all kinds from comedy to music (which I chaired!) to calling people out online. The common theme on all of these panels, however, was that they all featured well-known YouTubers – as you might expect at the UK’s largest YouTube convention. There was one panel, though, that stood out from the crowd – the smaller YouTubers panel. This featured a group of YouTubers who had less subscribers between them than most of the individual ‘stars’ of SITC – but what they lacked in stats, they made up for in advice and inspiration. Their video audiences may not be huge but the reaction from the crowd at their panel certainly was.
The panel was chaired by Mary Akemon and featured Orla Ainsworth, ayeitsaiesha, Ellie Berry, Thogden, ytwaheyproductions and SuperSamStuff. The group started off talking about what should truly matter to creators, which then segued into a chat about how important stats are to a YouTuber. Will Carne (ytwaheyproductions) pointed out that if if people take the time to tell you they like something you’ve made, that means something. Similarly, Sam stated that instead of counting views or likes, he likes to count the number of comments and use that as a measure of how well his videos are doing. The group agreed that analytics can be very useful to a creator, though Ellie noted ‘you don’t have to be this great mathematician’ (to make a great video). Thogden summed things up pretty well when he said his favourite thing about YouTube is that you can upload whatever you want. There’s no limits. You don’t have to follow trends if you don’t want to.
The panel ultimately became about community. Mary advised that if you’re looking for YouTube pals: ‘They’re out there, sometimes it just takes a while’. She also warned that it’s unrealistic to reach out to people who are ‘like 50K subs or more’ but was confident smaller people will almost certainly want to help you out. Orla pointed out that everyone started out small, even YouTubers that are huge now. It’s the community within the bigger, older YouTubers that has helped them grow.
Sam beautifully summed up the spirit of the day by pointing that ‘you’re here (at SITC) because you’re part of something.’ He also stated that ‘there’s a misconception that a small YouTuber is a new YouTuber or an unsuccessful YouTuber. Some of us are just happy being smaller. Everyone is working at their own pace’, to huge applause from the crowd.